World reacts to surprise attack by Hamas on Israel

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(Reuters) – The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas launched the biggest attack on Israel in years on Saturday.

Here is some global reaction.

United States

“There is never any justification for terrorism. We stand in solidarity with the government and people of Israel, and extend our condolences for the Israeli lives lost in these attacks,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement released by the State Department.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said: “Over the coming days the Department of Defense will work to ensure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself and protect civilians from indiscriminate violence and terrorism.”

United Nations

U.N. Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland said: “This is a dangerous precipice, and I appeal to all to pull back from the brink.”

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Tuerk said:

“This attack is having a horrific impact on Israeli civilians … Civilians must never be the target of attack.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

The Palestinian people have the right to defend themselves against the “terror of settlers and occupation troops”, the official news agency WAFA quoted Abbas as saying.

Iran

An adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Saturday congratulated Palestinian fighters, the semi-official ISNA news site reported. “We will stand by the Palestinian fighters until the liberation of Palestine and Jerusalem,” it quoted Yahya Rahim Safavi as saying.

Iran’s state television showed parliament members rising from their seats to chant “Death to Israel”.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani spokesperson was quoted by ISNA as saying: “In this operation, the element of surprise and other combined methods were used, which show the Palestinian people’s confidence in the face of the occupiers.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz

“Terrifying news reaches us today from #Israel. We are deeply shocked by the rocket fire from Gaza and the escalating violence. Germany condemns these attacks by Hamas and stands by Israel,” Scholz said on social media.

French President Emmanuel Macron

Macron strongly condemned the attacks.

“I express my full solidarity with the victims, and their families and those close to them,” he said.

Saudi Arabia

The foreign ministry called for an “immediate cessation of violence”.

Egyptian Foreign Ministry

Egypt warned of “grave consequences” and called for “exercising maximum restraint and avoiding exposing civilians to further danger”.

British Foreign Minister James Cleverly

“The UK unequivocally condemns the horrific attacks by Hamas on Israeli civilians. The UK will always support Israel’s right to defend itself,” Cleverly said.

European Union

EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said: “I unequivocally condemn the attack carried out by Hamas terrorists against Israel. It is terrorism in its most despicable form.”

Foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said: “We unequivocally condemn the attacks by Hamas. This horrific violence must stop immediately. Terrorism and violence solve nothing.”

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan

“We call for restraint from all parties,” Erdogan said.

Qatar

The foreign ministry said Israel alone was responsible for the ongoing escalation of violence with the Palestinian people, and called for both sides to show restraint.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov

Russia is in contact with Israel, the Palestinians and Arab countries in connection with the escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Bogdanov said, urging restraint.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy

Zelenskiy condemned what he called a “terror attack” on Israel and said Israel’s right to defend itself “cannot be doubted”.

Hezbollah

The Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah, an arch foe of Israel, said it was in “direct contact with the leadership of the Palestinian resistance” and described events as a “decisive response to Israel’s continued occupation and a message to those seeking normalisation with Israel”.

Polish President Andrzej Duda

“I’m shocked by today’s brutal attacks on Israel by Hamas. Rockets attacks and detention of civilians as hostages arouse our deepest opposition. Poland strongly condemns all acts of violence,” Duda said.

Czech President Petr Pavel

“The attack conducted from the Gaza Strip is a deplorable act of terrorism against the State of Israel and the civilian population,” Pavel said in a statement

“The rocket attacks and the infiltration of Hamas commandos into Israel will block any efforts for a peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict for a long time.”

Italian Prime Minister’s Office

“The Italian government is closely following the brutal attack taking place in Israel. It condemns in the strongest terms the ongoing terror and violence against innocent civilians. Terror will never prevail. We support Israel’s right to defend itself,” it said in a statement.

Kuwait

Kuwait expressed its “grave concern” over developments between Israel and the Palestinians, blaming Israel for what it called its “blatant attacks”.

United Arab Emirates

“The UAE calls for the exercise of maximum restraint and an immediate ceasefire to avoid serious repercussions,” the official news agency quoted the foreign ministry as saying.

Japan

Japan strongly condemns rocket launches and cross-border attacks by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups into Israeli territory, the foreign ministry said.

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